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The facts about gluten-free diets

If You have not already gone gluten-free, I wager you’ve at least considered it. Approximately one-third of Americans say they want to decrease Gluten or remove it from their daily diet, each the latest numbers. However, most are confused about whether they would benefit from cutting Gluten and not sure what that even involves. Some believe they have to shun all carbohydrates (they don’t). Others think that going g-free will create pounds melt off (in fact, you can gain weight should you not do it right). Here are the facts behind the most frequent misconceptions so you can make the ideal call for your waistline and total well-being.

Myth #1: Everyone should go gluten-free

Studies show that two groups of Individuals absolutely Should cut Gluten. Those with the autoimmune disorder celiac disease have to rigorously avoid it because even small amounts cause their immune system to damage or destroy villi, the tiny, finger-like outgrowths that line the small intestine. When villi get damaged, they can’t absorb nutrients properly, resulting in pain and intense fatigue. For those with celiac (which may be diagnosed with a blood test and biopsy of the small intestine), nixing Gluten is the only means to reverse the harm and ensure you get the nutrients you need from food.

why gluten is bad

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You may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), which Can cause migraines, bloating, mental fogginess, and fatigue. However, there’s no universally accepted test for the condition, so if you believe you have it, the only alternative is to avoid Gluten altogether and monitor how you feel; consult a registered dietitian for help. (Adding to the confusion, it’s also likely to become allergic to wheat, which means you’ve got an immunologic response that shows up through conventional allergy symptoms; you must drop wheat from your diet, but you may still endure gluten-containing foods such as barley and rye.)

Myth #2: You’ll lose weight going gluten free

Anytime you remove an item from your daily diet, There’s a danger that you will replace it with something that hurts your weight-loss efforts. It is all too easy to load up on crap foods, such as chips and biscuits, thinking you’re being virtuous. And some people start eating more significant portions, believing it’s all so healthy that it does not matter (calories still count). Also, avoid swapping gluten-containing refined grains, like white pasta, for gluten-free processed grains, like white rice, which does nothing for fat reduction. Instead, trade up to Gluten whole grains.

gluten free is a fad unless medical condition

Myth #3: You can’t ever cheat on a gluten free diet

Can you occasionally have a treat with Gluten? They say that a friend claims to be gluten-free but then breaks the limitation for a bit of crusty bread or slice of pizza. Here is my take: If you’ve made this change to consume cleaner, then having a gluten-containing indulgence once in a while is good, as long as it does not trigger symptoms that cause you to feel unwell. If, however, you suffer from celiac or NCGS, you shouldn’t change it. Today, fortunately, there are loads of gluten-free methods to gratify.

Reality check: Your body doesn’t need gluten

Gluten itself is a type of protein, and proteins May be obtained from several other foods, so it’s perfectly safe to forgo it, even if it doesn’t cause you any ill results. However, a low-carb eating plan can be an intelligent strategy for improving the healthfulness of your diet. It frequently means purchasing fewer processed foods and eating more fresh, fiber-rich fare; this measure alone could interpret a better diet. Just make sure to sidestep the pitfalls–more on that to come.

Potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, squash, and pulses (beans, peas, and lentils) are all satisfying foods. Snack on roasted chickpeas instead of white-flour pretzels; inhale with garbanzo bean flour rather than all-purpose flour; chuck veggies and lean protein with skillet instead of spaghetti.

Incidentally, these swaps will help up your intake Of fiber and protein, provide a broader spectrum of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and enhance calories. (Choosing spaghetti squash over whole-wheat spaghetti, as an instance, cuts over 130 calories, a lot of it out of 25 fewer grams of carbs.)

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You can still eat quinoa, brown and Wild rice, buckwheat, corn, teff, amaranth, millet, and sorghum. However, replacing refined grains that contain Gluten-free with these Gluten-free whole-grain choices should elevate your overall fiber and nutrient consumption, as well as protect your health. Consuming more whole grains is connected to nearly 15 percent reduced mortality, especially from heart disease, per a 2015 Harvard research. Luckily, the swaps are easy: Create tabbouleh with quinoa or millet instead of bulgur; trade white bread made with refined wheat germ for choices made from fermented whole grains, such as brown rice and quinoa; and change out the cream of wheat for teff.

Since the FDA does not require manufacturers to list Gluten by title on the packaging, it may take some detective work to Scope it out. First, Check for wheat, rye, and barley.

Celiac disease – intolerance to the gluten protein
Celiac disease, also called indigenous sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is a chronic disease of the small intestine caused by a lifelong intolerance to gluten. The gluten protein is mainly present in rye, wheat, spelt, oats, and barley cereals. In addition, older grains such as Urkorn, Emmer (Zweikorn), Einkorn, Kamut, and other various wheat derivatives also contain this gluten protein.

Inflammation of the villi causes a reduction in the surface area of the small intestine.
In healthy people, the ingested food is broken down into individual components in the small intestine. Subsequently, the nutrients reach the particular organs via the blood. To ensure that as many nutrients as possible can be absorbed, the intestine is equipped with villi that protrude into the intestine’s interior. However, if gluten intolerance is present, the so-called villi become inflamed and regress. This reduces the surface area of the small intestine, resulting in the body being no longer optimally supplied with nutrients.

Allergy or autoimmune disease?

Celiac disease can be classified as a hybrid between autoimmune disease and allergy. The immune system regards gluten, which is harmless, as harmful and antibodies attack the intestinal mucosa. This immune reaction leads to chronic inflammation of the intestinal mucosa. However, the antibodies attack the grain protein and are also directed against the body’s structures. This process resembles an autoimmune disease.

celiac disease gluten free diet

Genetic predisposition as the leading cause of gluten intolerance
The exact cause of the development of celiac disease has not yet been fully clarified. A decisive prerequisite is a genetic predisposition, occurring in 30 to 40 percent of the worldwide population. If hereditary factors are present, the risk increases threefold. Since not all people with hereditary predispositions develop celiac disease, there must be other factors that influence the development of the disease. It is suspected that certain environmental factors, infections, immune systems, and diet may also be related to celiac disease.

Typical symptoms of celiac disease – bloating, cramps & diarrhea.

After gluten-rich meals, some affected people experience typical symptoms such as

  • Flatulence,
  • abdominal cramps and
  • greasy diarrhea.

If the symptoms persist over a certain time, the affected person loses weight. In addition, there is a lack of protein, which results in the accumulation of water from the vessels in the tissues and the formation of edema.

Atypical symptoms and complaints – weakness, headache, infertility
Other patients stand out with atypical symptoms not directly related to the gastrointestinal tract. The signs of the disease affect the entire body and manifest themselves in mental discomfort. Thus, there is:

  • Weakness, lassitude, fatigue.
  • Infertility in men and women
  • miscarriages and premature births
  • frequent headaches, migraines
  • depression
  • nerve damage and disorders
  • Uncertainty when walking
  • short stature
  • enamel defect on the teeth
  • Delayed development during puberty
  • Complaints due to vitamin and trace element deficiency

The lack of trace elements and vitamins can trigger physical complaints in celiac disease. Although these substances are sufficiently absorbed, they can only be insufficiently absorbed into the blood due to the inflamed intestine. These include symptoms such as:

  • elevated liver values due to liver disease
  • Functional disorders of the thyroid gland
  • Night blindness due to vitamin A deficiency
  • Muscle weakness, osteoporosis, bone pain, muscle cramps due to calcium deficiency
  • Bleeding in the skin due to vitamin K deficiency
  • Burning tongue, anemia, lazy mouth due to iron deficiency
  • skin inflammation with itchy blisters
  • inflammation of the renal corpuscles

symptoms in children – vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation

In young children, the celiac disease manifests with the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • abdominal bloating
  • Changes in temperament
  • iron deficiency
  • Paleness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Constipation or changing stools
  • In addition, motor skills may be lost, and disorders in tooth development may become apparent.

symptoms of celiac in children

Parallel diagnostic procedures for gluten intolerance
A blood test indicates advanced mucosal damage of the small intestine. To reliably detect celiac disease, various tests should be performed in parallel and the results correlated. A blood test can provide the first important indication for transglutaminase, gliadin, and endomysium. In addition, the measured values can be used to determine how severely the mucosa of the small intestine is damaged.

Functional tests check the nutrient absorption of the small intestine
Furthermore, specific functional tests provide information. These tests can be used to check the extent to which the small intestine absorbs and utilizes nutrients. One such test is the D-xylose test. This test can detect disorders of negligible intestinal absorption. If the intestine is already very severely damaged, a lactose test provides information about whether there may be temporary lactose intolerance.

Endoscopic small intestine biopsy – tissue samples provide 100% certainty.
However, to obtain 100% certainty, a small intestine biopsy is necessary. Nowadays, an endoscopic small intestine biopsy is relatively harmless and takes no longer than 15 minutes. An endoscope is passed through the mouth from the esophagus, through the stomach, and into the small intestine. The tissue samples taken during this procedure are then examined histologically. Source

Treatment of celiac disease – gluten-free diet

Unfortunately, gluten intolerance cannot yet be cured. Even the smallest amount of gluten can cause histological damage. Therefore, it is recommended that all affected persons eat a gluten-free diet as far as possible. This is the only way to regenerate the small intestine’s mucous membrane and control the symptoms. The results are usually visible immediately. After just a few days, patients notice an improvement in their general condition. Diarrhea disappears, appetite returns, and weight is normalized. Deficiency symptoms due to missing vitamins and trace elements also subside.

To keep one’s own kitchen gluten-free, it is essential to avoid contamination by residual gluten. Even the tiniest crumbs and remnants on dishes and cutlery could trigger symptoms.

The optimal diet for gluten intolerance

The optimal gluten-free diet can be balanced, tasty, and, above all, healthy. Those affected are advised to drink plenty of water and use salt sparingly. The new labeling makes it relatively easy for celiac patients to identify foods with and without gluten. This is because even small traces of gluten must be listed on the labels by food manufacturers. While it is crucial to make a conscious choice of foods, sufferers should not put themselves under pressure.

The gluten-free diet is possible at any age

As a complete diet, sufferers of any age can follow a gluten-free diet. However, abstaining from gluten-containing foods may result in a lower dietary fiber intake. Therefore, it is advisable to include fresh vegetables and fruit in the diet every day. In this way, the deficiency can be compensated. In addition, if there is a deficit of nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, iron, vitamin D, or vitamin B12, this deficiency can be compensated by dietary supplements after consultation with the doctor or nutritionist.

celiac infographic

Safe foods

Fortunately, nature has several products available that can be classified as harmless and gluten-free.

  • Rice, wild rice
  • Corn
  • Millet, buckwheat
  • Rice, corn, potato starch
  • Chestnut, lupine, and chickpea flour, as well as the products made from them
  • amaranth and quinoa
  • fresh, natural fruits and vegetables
  • legumes
  • potatoes
  • milk, dairy products, butter, eggs, margarine
  • poultry, meat, seafood, fish
  • salt, herbs, sugar
  • honey, jam
  • Water and pure fruit juices
  • oils, nuts
  • Sparkling wine and wine
  • tea, coffee

Risky foods

As risky are classified those foods in which wheat or gluten is included as an additive or ingredient, such as:

  • Soy sauce
  • Ready meals
  • Sausages

Prohibited foods
Affected individuals should avoid wheat, barley, rye, Kamut, and spelt grains altogether. Oats also often contain gluten.

Recognize hidden gluten

Caution is also advised with semi-finished and finished products. Here are a few hidden gluten traps:

  • Beer – Made from barley and therefore contains gluten.
  • French fries – While potatoes are gluten-free, they are often coated with a breading that contains wheat flour.
  • Seasoning mixes – Gluten is often used as a carrier or binder.
  • Chips – Gluten protein is in many varieties, giving chips that unique flavor.
  • Cream cheese – Beware of light products. They are stabilized with gluten. Herb cream cheese is often enhanced with spice blends.
  • Sausages and potato pancakes – Gluten is often used as a binding agent.
  • Ketchup and sauces – Cereal protein is hidden in these products as a stabilizer.

Lifelong disease, but symptom-free with a gluten-free diet

The symptoms can be successfully treated by strict adherence to a gluten-free diet. The disease itself, however, remains lifelong. Those who continue to eat a diet high in gluten despite celiac disease increase the risk of other autoimmune diseases and certain cancers of the small intestine. In addition, some patients develop a temporary lactose intolerance (milk sugar intolerance). Finally, as a late consequence of celiac disease, the connective tissue of the small intestine can become inflamed. Doctors then speak of collagenous colitis.

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